By: Eric | Photos: Secret Squirrel Delivery
There’s no real easy way to say this, but we’ve always wanted to be a spy or navy seal or something badass. Not like my real life which is far from badassary. More like a runny nose of badassness. We have a few friends in the military, whom are employed in various elite tactical services. We can’t name them exactly; let’s just say there are certain small Ford pickup trucks and a very wet flippery mammal who likes to balance balls on their noses. The seal, not the man.
Our friends who could be called out on a moment’s notice called it, “secret squirrel shit”. They’d never tell us what was up, where they were going or what they were doing. We’ve always wanted secret squirrel shit! The very definition of badass includes squirrel shit of the most secretive kind!
So you can imagine when someone sends us a clandestine email about secret projects, we are all ears. The email essentially told us of a surreptitious Chevy LT block that has already been produced and that the message would self-destruct in 10 seconds and that if we divulged the owner, our Vodka Martini’s (shaken, not stirred) would be secretly spiked with an isotope of uranium.
Ok, maybe most of that is made up but the one true bit is the billet LT block. Under cloak and dagger (and possibly at risk to physical health) we agreed to share this information with you, the reader about quite possibly the first and only billet LT block. We instantly starting putting up schematics and random beakers of substances around the office, dimmed the lights and called our office “HQ”. It’s hard being suspicious of everyone as we look them hard up and down with squinted eyes. However, we were able to get this reconnaissance past tight security.
The first question out of our lips was, “why a billet LT block?” The cloaked informant told us that he (oh crap, we’ve revealed a gender!) wanted to keep his originally LT equipped (EEK! More info!) car with an LT motor, make over 1,000 horsies and still look 90’s cool. So far the only option for an LT block was one from the factory that you had to pull from the cold dead hands of another LT owner and those weren’t really up for the abuse. Built right, they are good for about 900 horsepower but if you wanted more, you are out of luck. At the end of the day, it’s the owner’s decision and this owner put his money where his mouth is, or would be if he had a mouth because he doesn’t exist, capiche!?!
So, let’s get technical for a second. While the stock LT motor was decent out of the box and could be built to handle good power, but if you want to run big power, the stock block couldn’t handle it. The stock block would literally start to twist under the immense pressure, which in turn would cause the rings to seat improperly; ergo, power loss. The billet aluminum block simply doesn’t deflect like the stock GM block does.
You might be asking the obvious and ever present question of, why? Well, simply put, “This block is needed for the person that still wants to keep his/her LT1 equipped car with an LT1 that wants to make 900 HP or above” says the man in the black cloak. He went on to say that the vehicle this engine will become is meant to appear completely stock with the original hood, including full interior, stereo, working air-con and still rip off nasty 8-second passes to the shock of onlookers.
The man in black took a long drag off his cigarette and told us the virtues of running a billet block, “because it’s made from a solid piece of aluminum you can do almost anything you want with it”. He went on to highlight a few main points; a 4.000-inch or larger bore, deck heights starting at 9.025 to 9.500, solid filled or full water cooled, 11 or 15 degree valve train, 55mm or 60mm cam bore, your choice of rear main seals and dry or wet sump oiling choices. We are told the options are virtually limitless and can take relentless amounts of abuse.
While he admits that the block itself doesn’t truly make the power, it will keep everything from cracking like an egg with high horsepower applications. And it’s true that the cost is likely the most prohibitive part of this entire endeavor; but just think of having an LT block that can’t be destroyed and will never wear out? I didn’t see that anywhere in the standard GM warranty booklet.
You also might be wondering why the man in the shadows wouldn’t just switch to an LSX. He puts it straight and simple, “At the HP level I want to operate at it really would not save much money. You end up changing almost everything to build a quality LS engine at 1500 HP and up so if you’re already buying all new expensive parts then the cost is not so different. That’s what this car and engine is all about. Take what others would replace or throw away because they say it won’t work and alter it or fix the problems to make it work. I also like to have something different and a one of one motor is about as unique as it gets. It comes down to a personal decision at the end of the day”.